Monday, December 10, 2007

The Sweatshirt

The store is not convenient to get to, I have to drive several miles to get there, park far away, and walk through the cold to get to it. I heave open the enormous doors and my senses are accosted. Strong scented perfume shoots right up my nostrils to the back of my brain. Blaring music rocks so loudly that I can feel my eardrums vibrating. And there is a wall-sized poster of a very young man and woman with very little clothes on and very much muscle definition that I can't more than glance at because it's impossible to look at that and think of anything but...and that's just the entrance way. I walk further in and it's dark except for spotlights shining down on the racks and tables of clothes. They all have the name of the store or it's symbols plastered plainly across the front. Everything looks like it's been dragged behind a truck: the hems are ragged, the colors faded and blurry. And the prices are about 8 times of that which I could get similar, newer looking ones at Target. A beauteous floating head comes towards me. Does it come from one of those impossibly shaped headless wooden mannequins? No, it's salesgirl. She's wearing clothes that make her blend in with the rest of the store. I hold up a sweatshirt that costs as much as a new vacuum cleaner. "Does this come in extra-small?" I bellow over the music. She can't understand me. She screams: "At the mall?" I point to the tag and try to pantomime "smaller." She shrugs the negative.



This is a bad place. I seem to remember something about a problem with their catalogs being rated X by some group for the pictures in them. The prices are outrageous. It sends all of the wrong messages about status and value and other things that have little to do with clothing. Yet...



I know that my son has figured out that it is the number one place to have your clothes come from if you want to be perceived as "cool" or whatever the word is for that nowadays. And I do remember picking him up from school and seeing other kids walking out with the name across their chests. Those were the kids that walked with a confident stride, heads high. And I can still vividly remember what it feels like to be in the 7th grade, when everything is changing, and the things that matter the most are what other kids think about you, and fitting in. And the deep pain of fearing that you won't. His joy is my joy, his pain is my pain, times a thousand, this child of mine that I would do anything for: walk through a burning fire, even die myself. It even came close to that when he was born, yet I would do it again for just a moment of looking at his face. I love him so much it overwhelms me to think about it. So what price is too high to pay to put a little confidence in his stride, his head up a little higher? Well here I am paying. It costs more than money. But I pay it.

6 comments:

Kerry said...

Mindy, I'm telling you, you are in the wrong profession. You just nailed another editorial. Loved it! It brought a tear to my eye. Miss you!

~Amy said...

Ditto what Kerry said!

Heather Leigh said...

Mindy, we should create our own new wave of cool duds and call it
Hillinger...

Of course you bought him the shirt, because YOU are a "cool" mom. :)

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Mindy! You can get decent sales, though. And although Jonathon prefers Abercrombie, too (hope it's O.K. that I just came out and said it), he'll also wear American Eagle and you can find awesome sales there. And I agree with Kerry and the other Amy...you really have an incredible talent for writing!

Amy M.

Anonymous said...

Oh, oohhh-- Found a "cool" looking hoodie sweatshirt for him as part of his Christmas gift. At TJ Maxx's.. I'll leave the price tag on and the receipt in the gift box. Or maybe he could wear it when he has to visit old relatives. Away from his fashionable friends.
You are a considerate, generous Mom. No wonder you found another job. Great description of biting the bullet and buying the item.
love, Aunt Chris, who has emotional scars from not wearing the fad clothes in school. 44 years later I still remember going to a caroling party/pizza party and was the only girl wearing regular slacks instead of the fad ski pants with stretchy stuff around the heels.

Aunt Kathy said...

Tim's lucky to have you for a Mom. He doesn't know yet that he's very handsome. My sister Chris may have had it bad, but for me it was worse: I had to wear her hand-me downs!